No, Not That Moe's
Mohammad Altawil named his newest place after himself.
From the April, 2021 issue
It's understandable if passers-by on Jackson Rd. are puzzled when they spot the sign for Moe's Grill at 25 Jackson Industrial Dr., near The Standard.
No, it's not a branch of Moe's Southwestern Grill, like the one on Eisenhower. While Moe's Grill has Mexican food, it also serves Middle Eastern specialties and even Philly cheesesteaks.
The extensive menu has been crafted by owner Mohammad Altawil. Trained as a physicist in his native Jordan, he is running Moe's with help from his wife, Nour Alshomali, a substitute teacher in the Ann Arbor Public Schools, and son Yousef Altawil, a student at U-M Dearborn.
Altawil once cooked at the Cottage Inn, and he and Alshomali formerly owned Nikko's Pizzeria on Broadway. In the mid-teens they moved to Jacksonville, Florida, where they ran a version of Nikko's, offering seafood, wings, and subs.
Returning to Ann Arbor, he drove for Uber Eats, which gave him the chance to sample local restaurants and settle on the dishes he wanted to serve. "They would give me food, and I would just try it," Altawil says.
Originally, Altawil wanted Moe's to center on a salad bar, but Covid-19 restrictions nixed that idea. Now, a long front counter is set up behind tall Plexiglass shields, allowing diners to see the ingredients that they add to dishes on the extensive menu.
"It's not a salad bar, but a salad bar concept," Altawil says.
He has spent the past couple of years researching recipes for Moe's. He says he perfected his queso by tasting different types around the area before creating his own recipe and experimented with spices for the chicken on the menu.
Fast-casual style, Moe's menu allows diners to match the type of dish they want with a kind of protein. Bowls, burritos, quesadillas, tacos, and nachos can be made with veggies, chicken, steak, shredded steak, ground beef, or gyro slices, with prices ranging from $7 to $9.
Salads, at $7, are available as garden, Greek, chicken, gyros, avocado,
and fattoush, as well as a taco salad. A gyros combo with fries and a drink costs $9.50, while a chicken tender meal costs $9. Kids meals cost $4.
Asked why he would open during the pandemic, Altawil said "I know it's very bad, but it's very good" in terms of finding a place to rent. "I said to my wife, 'I know this is not going to last forever.'"
He studied the Ann Arbor area before choosing the west side, which he felt could support a casual diner-style menu. Having already worked downtown, Altawil said he deliberately wanted to be away from the university.
"That's my dream, owning a restaurant," says Altawil, "and here we are."
Moe's Grill, 25 Jackson Industrial Dr., (734) 780-7388, Mon.-Sat., 11 a.m.-8 p.m., closed Sun. moesgrillandmore.com
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